Music

The Rolling Stones: Just for the Record – Good Documentary But Where’s the Music?

I should have known something was up when the word Unautorized was featured so prominently in descriptions of The Rolling Stones – Just For the Record. While there is some interesting material here, the disc fails horrendously in the area of the music itself. Other than Mick Taylor, none of the other Stones participated in the making of the DVDs.

The Rolling Stones – Just For the Record is a documentary covering five decades of the band. Each decade has its own DVD dedicated to it. There are biographies of all of the band: Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Mick Taylor, and Ron Wood. There‘s also a lot put together about the peripheral figures who have played and toured with the band such as Billy Preston.

There’s a lot of footage of interviews and early performances which I hadn’t seen before. The Stones are contrasted with other bands that formed during this time and are described as the “anti-heroes” of the British Invasion – the dark side and dangerous whereas bands such as The Beatles were seen as clean-cut.

The information given is good and I liked how The Rolling Stones – Just For the Record chronicled the history of the band. What it didn’t touch on hardly at all was the music. You won’t hear any Stones songs on any of the discs. Since they couldn’t get permission, the makers of the documentary resorted to using sound-alike riffs as background music. Nowhere else are the songs played or the music really talked about at length.

Most of what is focused on are the tours and the ins and outs of the group on a personal level. I never realized how close they were to breaking up in the 1980s. That’s when I would see them the most often – about eight times during the Tattoo You tour. This was billed as “The Final Tour” and would become the first of several tours which people believed would be. However, this one actually almost was, primarily due to the in-fighting between Mick and Keith after that tour.

I never realized before that the album Tattoo You was made up primarily of previously written material that had been discarded from other sessions over the previous 10 years.

First disc – youth through 1960s
Second Disc – 1970s
Thirds Disc – 1980s
Fourth Disc – 1990s
Fifth Disc – 2000 and Beyond

The 5th disc really is a recap of everything that was already presented. Very little footage from the time after the year 2000. There’s also a lot on this disc from the fans saying how much they love the band.

Besides the interview with Mick Taylor, there are interviews with Anita Pallenberg who was Keith’s common-law wife from 1967 to 1980. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman are on the 5th disc, but this is actually a series of interviews that were previously shown elsewhere.

Another issue is that the novelty of having a decade on each disc was just that – a novelty. There was no real reason to do that. Each segment lasts under an hour and there are a couple of pieces of Bonus Material on each. That means that for the first decade, the 1960s they covered all that went on up until 1969 in under an hour. It could have used more time. They did the same length of time for the 1990s when there was a lot less material. Overall, it feels drawn out, like it could have been put on just two discs, even with the bonus material.

The Rolling Stones – Just For the Record is retailing for $29.99 and is definitely not worth it. People who don’t know the entire history of the band might be interested in viewing it once, but there’s no need to own it, especially not at that price. If they could have secured the rights to the music and expanded the earlier time it would have been great. As it is, it’s a one-shot deal and only for those who have a desire to know about the band.

BONUS MATERIAL:

” Rolling Stone Rice Krispies commercial
” A Strange Day at the Studio
” Story of Brian Jones and Jajouka
” The Making of Exile on Main Street
” Keith/Woody Interview 1982
” WWIII
” Dust Bros. on Bridges to Babylon
” L.A. Speaks


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